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Does My Business Need A Progressive Web App?

Progressive web apps have been highly touted recently, especially by Google, as a smart way to push the mobile web forward. With the power to reach more users and bridge the gap between web and native apps, they certainly sounds interesting on paper, however a lot of businesses still know little or nothing about them. As a mobile application development company that also crafts web pages we wanted to talk a bit today about them and help you understand if your business needs a progressive web app.

What is a Progressive Web App?

Progressive web apps, or PWAs, are a combination of technologies, design concepts and Web API’s that work together to help create an app-like experience exclusively on the mobile web. In theory the idea is pretty slick. Basically you are looking at developing a mobile site that becomes your app.

As Google describes it, “A Progressive Web App uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience.”

The first visit a user has to a site is just like visiting any mobile site; there is useful information available without having to download or install anything. The more time the user spends with the PWA, the better the relationship becomes, growing stronger and more intricate. It will load faster, send useful push notification and can add an icon to your home screen for a direct connection.

So they eventually have similar benefits that a Native app does (that you would download from Google Play or the App Store) which you can’t obtain from current Mobile Web Apps that are accessed from a mobile web browser.

This is just a two cent overview; as there is a lot that goes into PWA’s including understanding what service workers are, but it is enough to get the picture. PWA’s have the potential to be a very interesting and powerful option for businesses that either have an app or are looking at creating an app for their business.

Ways PWA’s could be beneficial

The biggest benefit of a Progressive Web App is the ability to add interactive and time-sensitive components along with the ability to quickly provide new or updated content and notifications. Here are a few general examples:

  • A site where people download multiple pieces of content to read offline later like blog sites or news/informational sites
  • A site that updates content several times a day, everyday
  • Any site that uses real-time data which can be internal or external for things like inventory, weather information, stock prices and the like
  • A site that would benefit from real time updates or push notifications daily

The reoccurring theme is timeliness and interactivity.

Do I need a Progressive Web App?

For most businesses a progressive web app is unnecessary. It might be nice to have a site that has those options for the future, but many businesses simply don’t have the need for them right now. As covered above there are some very specific areas where this technology will be very beneficial imediately.

Down the road, we certainly feel that PWA’s are going to change how people think about the web and apps which should then lead to new ideas and ways to take advantage of some of the power behind Progressive Web Apps. However for right now, unless you fall into one of the categories above your business doesn’t need a progressive web app compared to other things you could be spending time and energy on to help pad your bottom line.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.


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